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Consider early release of prisoners to reduce overcrowding, says Kit Siang

05 Apr 2020 / 11:59 H.

PETALING JAYA: Violaters of Movement Control Order (MCO) should not be jailed, in fact there should be early release of prisoners to reduce overcrowding in prison to curb the Covid-19 outbreak, says Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang (pix).

He said this in support of the Prison’s Director-General, Zulkifli Omar’s proposal that the court should keep to non-custodial sentences instead of sending the violaters to jail because it will defeat the purpose of MCO which is to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus.

“Sending the MCO violaters to jail exposes them to the danger of Covid-19 infections, especially as the country’s prisons are vastly overcrowded which makes social distancing impossible,“ he said in a statement.

This effort would not only protect the prisoners, but it will prevent the prison personnel as well, he stated.

Lim urged the government to consider giving prisoners early release just like Indonesia, India, and the United Kingdom because the unhygienic conditions and lack of health care resources in jails put lives at serious risk especially now, during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The Malaysian government should do the same to avert a Covid-19 outbreak in view of the overcrowded conditions in Malaysian prisons, by allowing the early release of prisoners, especially the elderly, people within months of scheduled release, people whose charges are misdemeanors or non-violent felonies, individuals whose health leaves them at particular risk from Covid-19 and whose crime involves no physical harm to another person,“ he said.

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